Vendaval Simracing was founded in January 2016 – with the goal to form a highly competetive simracing team while engaging every member towards the teams’ organisation. And although we approach our races in a professional manner and operate on the highest level of competition the fun and passion for racing is certainly not missing out.
On April 14th, our three Finnish drivers, Matti Kaidesoja, Juha-Pekka Lammi, and Santeri Kekkonen competed in Round 1 of 2018 Finnish Simracing Championship, a series that attracts the top simracers from Finland and teams such as: ineX, Coanda, CoRe Simracing, and Black Star Racing. This year, the series’ car of choice is the Ferrari 488 GTE, which in Round 1, was raced around the technical Interlagos Circuit in Brazil.
Overall, a great opening weekend for our drivers, and we’re excited to head to Road America for round 2 of the championship on April 29th.
Beginning with Round 2, the name of the series has changed to the VRS GT iRacing World Championship. Virtual Racing School has stepped in as the new title sponsor, and we are excited and grateful for their interest and presence in the series!
Round 2 of the World Championship took place at the historic Sebring Raceway in central Florida. Coming off a somewhat disappointing set of results at Bathurst, considering the race pace we had, Vendaval was on the hunt for a strong points day at Sebring.
Our lineup for Round 2 was as follows:
Vendaval Yellow #13 (Juan E Lopez & Hayden Berns)
Vendaval White #9 (Santeri Kekkonen & Matti Kaidesoja)
Vendaval Blue #42 (Robin Esterson & Tatsuro Hashimoto)
On March 24 at 13:45 GMT, qualifying started for the 50 car grid. Once again, much like Bathurst, it paid off to qualify all of our cars in the top 12, allowing us to avoid much of the chaos that took place behind. Kekkonen qualified the VS White Audi GT3 in the 10th position while Lopez and Esterson followed behind in 11th and 12th, respectively. All three of the Vendaval drivers were within one tenth of a second of each other, and knew that they would have to work together to try to not lose too much time.
The green flag flew at 14 GMT, and the first few laps were pretty quiet for the Vendaval trio, apart from Esterson and Lopez swapping places. The first stint of the race went without incident for any of our cars. At the pitstop, Esterson in the Blue machine overtook Kekkonen after saving fuel for the whole first stint, which allowed him to have a shorter pitstop. All three Vendaval cars elected to not take tires at the pits due to the low track temperature. Esterson was able to make his way up to the 6th position by the end of his second stint, and Lopez and Kekkonen were also inside the top 10, not far behind. All three drivers hopped out of the cars at the second round of pitstops, allowing for Hashimoto, Kaidesoja, and Berns to get into to the Blue, White, and Yellow cars.
Unfortunately for the Yellow car, there was a confusion with the pitspeed limiter, which gave them a penalty, and costing a possible top 10 finish. However, the White and Blue cars carried on, finishing 8th (White) and 10th (Blue). The Yellow car finished one lap down in 32nd position. Congrats to Pure Racing Team for the win, and to FA Racing G2 and Coanda Simsport for the podium results.
Solid points day for two of the cars, and the whole team is working hard to have a successful Round 3 which will take place in Italy on April 21st at the world famous Monza circuit.
With our trio of Audi R8 GT3s, we kicked off the VRS GT iRacing World Championship 2018 with a six hour race at the treacherous Mount Panorama Circuit.
Our lineup for the round 1 consisted of:
Vendaval Yellow #13 (Juan E Lopez & Alexander Manea)
Vendaval White #9 (Santeri Kekkonen & Dekota Fripp)
Vendaval Blue #42 (Robin Esterson & Tatsuro Hashimoto)
At 13:45 GMT on March 3, the 15 minute qualifying clock began to tick. At a track like Bathurst and in a series like VRS GT WCS, qualifying may very well determine the outcome of your race. In his debut of an iRacing World Championship Series, Esterson put the Vendaval Blue machine on the second row in the third position, just behind Josh Rogers and Ricardo Castro Ledo of TTL Esports and CoRe SimRacing. The Vendaval White car driven by Kekkonen was not far behind, taking the 8th spot on the grid. Lopez in the VS Yellow was not able to extract the complete potential out of the car, resulting in a 12th place qualifying effort.
The green flag flew just a few minutes after 14:00 GMT, and Esterson was quick to pounce and moved up to 2nd place, passing the CoRe SimRacing Audi in turn 2. Esterson continued in 2nd place for the remainder of his stint, pulling a small gap on Frederik Rasmussen of FA Racing G2 before coming in for the first pit stop.
Meanwhile, in the Vendaval White car, Kekkonen quickly moved up to 7th on the first lap. Before the first pitstop, he was able to move the car up into the 6th position. However, trouble struck early for the Vendaval Yellow machine after William Levesque made heavy contact with Lopez’s left front wheel, taking the #13 car out of the race.
Vendaval White and Blue continued on their way, both taking fuel and tires at the stop. Both dropped a few positions after some teams elected to skip tires in exchange for track position. Both Esterson and Kekkonen were able to make up some ground on the drivers with old tires and made it to the second pitstop in 3rd and 5th positions, respectively. At the second stop, Esterson stayed in the car and chose to not take tires, while Dekota Fripp hopped in the #9 car, taking fresh rubber after Kekkonen’s double stint.
Esterson then took the lead from Coanda Simport #8 on lap 66 after Mitchell DeJong chose to triple stint one set of tires. Esterson continued, and pitted on lap 89 handing the car over to teammate, Tatsuro Hashimoto. Dekota Fripp pitted soon after and remained in the car. Both cars exited the track in close proximity and began the 4th hour of the race. On lap 103, Hashimoto got caught in the spin of the Radicals Online BMW Z4 in Forest Elbow, causing over 10 minutes of repair, robbing the Blue car’s promising podium chance.
The White car continued the race, sticking to schedule, and keeping up the pace to have a shot at podium finish. However, the final hours of the race did not go without troubles. Dekota was involved in an incident created by a poor rejoin by a BMW, causing some front-end damage. During its penultimate pit stop the White car suffered from a refueling bug, costing up to 25 extra seconds on pitlane. However, they were able to battle back, finishing the race in a solid 6th place.
Final results for the three Vendaval entries:
Vendaval Yellow #13: DNF
Vendaval White #9: P6
Vendaval Blue #42: P28
RaceSpot TV broadcast replay of the race can be found here.
Next we head to the historic Sebring International Raceway on March 24, where we’ll be battling it out on the bumpy concrete. We showed promising top 5 speed in Round 1, and we hope to carry it into Sebring to try to score some more satisfying results.